Federal Plan to Gather Tribal Horses Draws Fire

Story by Jeff DeLong, RGJ as published in the Reno Gazette-Journal

“We are our own nation. We are the lawmakers. We make all the rules based on what’s best for our own people.”

HorsesbythenumbersFORT McDERMITT — Across a rugged swath of mountainous terrain just south of the Oregon border, government land managers and an Indian tribe are poised to round up to 2,000 horses, many of them roaming federal land illegally.

A plan by the U.S. Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt PaiuteShoshone Tribe to conduct a horse gather on federal and tribal land this summer is already drawing fire from wild horse advocates, with the issue likely to generate as much controversy as it did the last time horses were removed from the same area two years ago.

Forest Service and tribal officials as well as local ranchers insist the proposed gather is the best way to address a long-simmering problem posing an economic hardship to some and causing serious damage to a sensitive landscape, particularly during a time of drought.

Horse advocates counter the planned helicopter roundup of tribal-owned horses is a crisis solution to long-standing mismanagement of federal land and that the tribe will profit at taxpayer expense. They say federally protected wild horses will inevitably get caught up in the operation and that many horses – wild or domestic – “ultimately face a fate of slaughter.”

Both sides appear steered toward a collision course, much as occurred in 2013.

The joint operation by the tribe and Forest Service seeks to remove scores of horses grazing on Forest Service and BLM land adjoining the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Reservation in the Santa Rosa Mountains, located about 75 miles north of Winnemucca near the Oregon line…(CONTINUED)

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14 comments on “Federal Plan to Gather Tribal Horses Draws Fire

  1. Pretty simple. Cut off the money for the Helicopter. The program spent too much on wild horses according Proslaughter Dave Duquette and cant afford to spare a dime for the BLM to roundup any horses. Also according to the proslaughter supporters the Tribes are their own people managing their horse issue and dont need our government so again I refused to use tight tax dollars for any roundup when they didnt cull their horses properly in the first place. If they are domestic and not wild by law people should be allowed time to collect horses without the roundup. Last. WE have the Right to fight Animal Extremists that demand the slaughter of Every animal and a law Against this type of Aggressive Proslaughter Culling needs to be put in place Federally. The overtly Aggressive pace at which Animal Slaughter Extremists move to collect…manipulate…and destroy horses should be illrgal. Normally culling would be done incrementally. Once these horses are Controlled as they say it then it should be that All money received go into castration and management of remaining horses. Meaning All funds gained if they are slaughtered be directed to Only preservation of the remaining and no one is to profit from the roundup. Our tax dollars are Not intended to finance an operation to destroy horses for financial gain through slaughter. In fact….they should be restricted on further breeding since the tribe cannot maintain or manage the horses they say are out of control. They should be fined for allowing herds to overpopulate from here forward. The Dekalb plant closed 8 years ago. This is all Human error from that day forward and there should be some accountability for it. Literally. The tribe says this is necessary and so is their accountability. They can start by placing a downpayment on the cost of the helicopter. I mean tax payers deserve their money back on a rental…dont they?

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    • Dont get my post wrong its in Regard to the Forest Service forcing them to do this and the Forest Service IS at fault and not the horses. They could have been Working on this decades ago if that really is the case.

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  2. This is just so more greedy ranchers can graze their cattle in a national forest where cattle should never be allowed in the first place. The tribal council and the ranch manager want this but the regular members do not A member called me several years ago and told me that.

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  3. Why are these tribes allowed to get away with this time & again? These are domestic horses – apparently, there is no kind of maintaining numbers – gelding stallions, etc??? If they are raising horses for a profit – doesn’t seem to me that there would be enough profit in slaughter! But then, if the taxpayers are paying – why is this?? How sad is it that our wild horses & burros are only allowed to exist in certain numbers – but the tribes can just turn out their horses & never touch them – turning them onto federal lands where its illegal?????? I realize that for far too many years our government (& citizens) took major advantage of Indians, but honestly, don’t they have to obey the laws like the rest of us? Well, most of us – except for the corporations that are taking advantage of the grazing allotment program!

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  4. The same names keep showing up wherever Wild Horses and/or Burros are “a problem”
    Remember the Ruby Pipeline?

    http://enrlgp.blogspot.com/2011/07/new-course-environmental-law-energy.html

    In the first picture above, the Honorable Billy Bell (left), Chairman, Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, and Adjunct Professor Eid (legal counsel to Ruby Pipeline LLC) on site north of Elko, Nevada, last January.
    The Ruby Pipeline Project is a new 677-mile interstate pipeline currently being constructed between Wyoming and Oregon to deliver natural gas from Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to 60 million consumers on the West Coast. In the second picture shows the $3.5 billion project Ruby Pipeline, which employs 5,000 construction workers.
    Here the pipe is being strung and welded prior to being lowered in the trench. Friday’s blog posting will include an in-depth interview with Troy A. Eid.

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  5. I think something “stinks” with this plan and I have questions (that I submitted to USFS last month during the public comment period).
    # 1 If the horses to be captured are domestic horses and belong to the Paiute-Shoshone tribe or other individuals then why don’t they round them up themselves?
    # 2 Why should I pay for “domestic horses” to be rounded up?
    # 3 If the horses that are caught are tribal horses and the USFS/BLM captures them on public land then will the tribe/owner be sent a bill with heavy fines for livestock trespass on public land?
    # 4 If the horses are on grazing on public land and not branded by a tribe or individual, then it appears that these would actually be part of the wild horse herds (Owyhee and Little Ohyhee HMA’s for example) which belong to the American public and which are “protected” by the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. If so, then these wild horses cannot be given or sold to the Native American tribes to be sold to slaughter. It is the law.
    #5 Are wild horses going to be herded and/or chased by helicopter off their legal (HMA/HA) land? Enticement of wild horses off their legally designated land is completely illegal. In addition, Wild horses and burros are required by law to be treated as “components of the public lands”. 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a) The law is clear that “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death” and entitled to roam free on public lands where they were living at the time the Act was passed in 1971. 16 U.S.C. § 1331 These legally protected areas are known as “herd areas,” and are defined as “the geographic area identified as having been used by a herd as its habitat in 1971.” 43 C.F.R. § 4700.0-5(d).
    # 5 I have estimated that this proposed wild horse capture will cost the American tax-payers over a million dollars. If in fact these are domestic horses (owned by the tribes or tribal members) then why do we the American tax-payers have to pay for this? Why should we tax-payers pay to round up domestic horses and give them to a tribe for them to sell them to slaughter? What is the USFS/BLM legal justification for this exorbitant and unnecessary cost to the American tax-payers?
    # 6 The tribes can shoot all their horses and antelope and deer on their land and put nothing but sheep and domestic cows out there if the wish on the land that is deemed a sovereign nation tribal land but they have no special privilege or jurisdiction over the American public’s wild horses and the American public’s land. Therefore, why are the American public’s wild horses being subject and facilitated by the USFS/BLM to this illegal capture/removal and eventual sale to slaughter by the Paiute-Shoshone members?
    # 7 If the wild horses are moving off their legal Herd Area land (Owyhee and Little Owyhee and others) then as usual, it is because the private cattle have destroyed the land and water and forage on the wild horse Herd Area land. Even designated ranges managed under a multiple use concept are to be “devoted principally” to wild horses and burros. The wild horses and burros on these lands are not to be eliminated for domestic livestock or mining or recreation or even secondary to these other uses. https://animallawcoalition.com
    #8 Most important of all, the question of who owns the horses and who’s land they are on (before being pushed by the helicopter or other roundup actions)? Of the estimated 1,200 horses to be captured/removed:
    • How many are on tribal land?
    • Of those on tribal land, how many will be captured using public funds and turned over to the tribal members to be sold for slaughter?
    • How many are on public land and exactly which public land? (HMA/HA/State/USFS/BLM etc.)
    • Of those on public lands, how many will be captured and turned over to the tribal members to be sold for slaughter?

    Like I said, something STINKS about this proposal.

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  6. How much “say” do the Native Tribes really have?
    WHO even listens?

    Time to Abolish the Bureau?: Part 2
    by Dario F Robertson
    Legal Correspondent Cherokee Observer
    CO Note: The response from our readership to Dario Robertson’s recent article, has been so positive that we have asked our legal correspondent to follow up his first article with a broader piece on reforming federal Indian policy. Responding on very short notice to our request, Mr. Robertson has written a sequel that outlines past efforts to rid Indian country of the BIA and reviews relevant recommendations for reform from Native American leaders and others that have yet to be fully considered by Congress.]
    http://www.cherokeeobserver.org/Issues/abolishbiapart2.html

    The overwhelming weight of evidence tells a very different story about BIA policy making. By any standard, the BIA is a colossal failure as a government agency and the dead weight of its administrative wreckage represents the single greatest obstacle to the freedom, prosperity, cultural integrity and progress of Native Americans. Until the BIA is abolished and federal Indian policy is fundamentally reformed, the future holds little promise of a significant change in the lives of Native Americans.

    ….. tribal governments are often compelled by subtle threats of retaliation to support the BIA whenever Congress makes any move in the direction of terminating the Bureau, as Russel Lawrence Barsh and James Youngblood Henderson have perceptively explained:
    When the bureau approaches tribal leaders for support on an issue, it may be an offer they cannot refuse. The agency has so much discretion in the allocation of funds, authorization of tribal programs, and development of reservation resources, that it can if it chooses hold up on any one of a number of actions beneficial to a tribe until it agrees to pay a ransom in the form of public support. It is like the warden asking his prisoners to say good things to the inspection committee. The power of the agency to reward and punish cooperation deprives the tribes of any free choice in the matter

    The BIA even unabashedly resorts to the arbitrary de-recognition of tribal leaders who become too outspoken about BIA abuses. With tribal leaders cowed by threats of BIA retaliation, formal support for the abolition of the BIA is a dangerous gambit that many cautious tribal leaders would prefer to avoid, thereby obstructing reform.

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    • Thanks Geri … and now all that weren’t adopted have another strike against them and might be headed for sale and we know where most of those eventually go … and all that at no fault of their own. BLM are the ones who need to “disappear” down the pipeline, not our innocent wild horses and burros.

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    • The “dirty & need to be brushed” comment got me too! Common sense certainly wasn’t big at this adoption! Hope they aren’t all like that (adopters). Scary that people who go to these events have so little comprehension as to what these horses really are!

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